I can hardly concentrate enough to read while I’m waiting. The hardest part is walking down the tunnel. The second hardest part is hearing the door shut. The third hardest part is right before that, when I’m sitting in the waiting area at the airport. I thought my brain was going to pop out of my head last time– little brain bits spewing out my ears and spotting the leather seats. The fourth hardest part is going through security. Nothing like taking your shoes off and walking slowly to give you that “you are really, really getting on an airplane” feeling.
Time was, I worried merely about if I had booked my ticket for the wrong date, or the wrong year (it happens). Those were the days.
The question I’ve been working with is: what if I need to get off this plane? That’s what set me off last time. I have a claustrophobia, loss of control problem, not a plane crash fear.
I’ve been working on a lot of absurd follow-ups for my master question, what if I need to get off the plane? Like, what if I need to cut my finger off? What if I need to perform heart surgery on the pilot? What if I want to roller skate down the aisle? What if Elvis Costello’s son is on the plane, and he asks me to marry him? What if I turn into a cockroach? What if I see a vision of Andy Warhol in the clouds and he starts talking dirty to me? If creativity makes you insane (it does) it also helps you return to sanity (sometimes).
Since I am flying with family, I also have the option of starting a fight with someone. I have a family member who could debate me on politics, and I would find that intensely distracting (“Socialized medicine!”) . It would be good for me, but probably too hard on my debate partner.
I’m sure I could bring up an awkward subject with any family member on the plane. I could find a subject so delicate and so laced with hot buttons– ancient grudges! Dark secrets! That might engage my entire shaky brain. On the other hand, it might not be the best way to begin our fun family time.
I was reading when I freaked out the first time. Forever after, the layout of the New Yorker looks a little scary to me. I was reading in that magazine about that film, “Tiny Furniture,” and I kind of blamed that woman who was way too young to be getting written up in the New Yorker and getting all this Big New Artist attention. Yes, I believe she messed with my mind, along with that narrow, three-column format, which is just spooky.
I believe what will happen is that my sisters will talk me through. They helped me to ride Everest, this yeti-themed roller coaster, for the first time. Someone held my hand. It sweated. Sometimes they’re gonna be like, “Well, don’t worry, we can always strangle you until you pass out,” and sometimes they’ll say, “You’ll be okay,” and then other times they’ll rattle on with family gossip that cries out for dissection and debate. They can read me so well. I don’t think I’ll need a book.
Note: Unlike the previous post, there is no good reason for me to have a dog illustrating this. It’s just a good looking dog. What can I tell you?